Saturday, May 27, 2023

Flora and Fauna - Saturday's Critters


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are enjoying 
the beautiful springtime - or if you are in the 
southern hemisphere, the beautiful autumn. 
Both are an equally gorgeous time of the year. 

This is a very busy time of year for all who love to garden
or seek to enjoy nature, as the weather is mild
and the air is filled with lovely scents, carried on the breeze. 

I've been spending all of my spare time outdoors, 

pulling weeds, fertilizing, and potting flowers, and the time 

has just slipped away. Forgive me for staying away 

for so long! 

We also have a new member of the family! 

His name is Maverick and he is a Dachshund/mini-Aussie mix. 

You can see that he and Kai are similar in size, except 

for height. Maverick (we nick-named him, Ricky)

has been *blessed* with legs from the dachshund 

side of the family. I can relate...


He is adjusting to his new life slowly but surely, and

Kai is very happy to have a best friend. They are already 

playing and exploring together!

He's very sweet and we are patiently helping 

him get used to his new surroundings. 

 We had a couple of visitors recently - two Black-tail deer.
These photos were taken from my window!  

They are very pretty, but love to eat my flowers. 

 I had to shoo them away when they stood in the middle 

of my garden and decided to help themselves! 

We have lots of Hedge Rabbits, too. 

They seem happy to just nibble the Dandelions

and lawn Clover. 

Nobody likes to eat Forget Me Not. Not even slugs! 
So I enjoy large swaths of blue every spring. 

Cleavers seem to thrive, too. 

 I have to protect the Pink Current with chicken wire, though. 

The deer consider it a delicacy, despite the fact that 

it grows just 10 feet from the house! 

The deer sneak in late at night while we are all fast asleep. 

Reminds me of when my children were teenagers!


We had a nesting pair of Steller's Jays this year. 

They look for bugs and other treats hiding in the moss. 

They are the 'watchdogs' of the forest - alerting everyone 
to predators by screeching loudly, or imitating the cries 
of hawks. 
They are large jays, (11 inches) a little smaller than a crow. 
I love finding their beautiful feathers. 

Herb Robert, otherwise known as 'Stinky Bob', because of it's 
pungent scent, is a delicate, but prolific wildflower. 
It is an import from Europe, brought by the early settlers. 
I spread the seed all over the edges of the lawn. 

A large choke-cherry tree was in full bloom right near our back deck. 
The scent is intoxicating and attracts bees and butterflies. 
It is popular in the fall with migrating birds who 
love the tiny, bitter-tasting cherries. 

Our native Douglas squirrel entertains us by chasing each other 
around the trunks of trees, and chattering and squealing 
whenever they spy the dogs. 

They love to eat the maple wing-nuts being formed 
by the pendant flowers this time of year. 

Wild bleeding heart likes to grow in large colonies 
in open areas of the forest floor. 

Oregon Grape is a low-growing ground cover with arching, evergreen, 
holly-like leaves. The clusters of yellow flowers produce bluish 
berries, or 'grapes' that are loved by wildlife and were used by 
our native peoples as an important food source. 

These are growing along my long driveway. 
They form large colonies that are very pretty all seasons of the year. 

We have dark-eyed juncos that like to harvest 
the moths that gather around our back deck lights. 
They come in the morning to gather the resting moths. 

This is a female yellow warbler. They arrive at the end of April
and start to migrate back to the southern states, Mexico, Central
and South America in August. The males are bright yellow
and arrive 2 weeks earlier to scout out territories. 

A Band-Tailed Pigeon caught my eye as it landed in the cedar tree 
by the house one day. 
You can see that it spied me taking photos! 
These are large birds about the size of a small chicken - 14". 
They nest nearby in scattered groups, 
and raise 2-3 broods a year. 

The beautiful blooms of Salmon Berry illuminated by the sun. 
These are tall, (10-12 ft) spindly, woody shrubs that grow in 
colonies and produce a bland, salmon-colored berry
similar to a raspberry, which the birds love. 
I've watched robins hover in mid-air, awkwardly
trying to pluck the berries off the stems. 

I was drinking my morning coffee on the deck one day
when this flock of buzzards circled overhead. 
I was a little alarmed for a bit, but they moved on, 
much to my relief. 

A Northern Flicker sat in a tree with his one-note piercing call, which 
caught my attention. They also have a 'wacka-wacka- call when they fly. 
They are the only woodpecker that feeds on the ground, 
primarily eating ants and beetles. 

This was his view. 
The tree he was sitting in is on the right. 
Many different birds like to sit in these trees 
as the sun starts to set, singing their final songs of the day. 
Mt. Rainier forms its own weather, as you 
can see by the swirl of clouds circling around it. 

As the sun sets (to the right, out of view), 
Mt. Rainier reflects the colors of the sky. 

We watch in awe as the birds sing their last songs of the day
and twilight ushers in the creatures of the night. 

We shut the gates, close up the house, and settle in for a quiet evening, 
counting our blessings after the gift of another day. 


"Like music and art, love of nature is a common language 
that can transcend political or social boundaries."

- Jimmy Carter -

"The wilderness holds answers to questions man has
not yet learned to ask."

- Nancy Newhall -

Today I am joining Saturdays Critters
Won't you join the fun? 

Friday, April 14, 2023

April Showers

Hello, Dear Friends - it just stopped hailing, and now the sun is out. 

The weather is so contradictory, lately.

I suppose that's true of many things in life. 

It even snowed a couple of weeks ago. 

My poor little primroses don't know what to think. 

Here they were just yesterday. 

Like the primrose, all we can do is try to bloom where we are planted, 
reach for the light, withstand the hailstorms of life, 
and spread as much beauty and grace as we possibly can, while we are here. 


Wild Plum on the edge of the lawn. 

We had a visit from the Easter Bunny recently! 

He had his Mrs. with him, too. 
They love the dandelions in the lawn. 
Nature works for you, if you are patient. 

Of course, I really don't mind the dandelions! 
It's not really a 'lawn' so much as a 
conglomeration of moss, weeds and wildflowers. 

But from a distance, it's all green. :)

We had the family over for Easter brunch. 

My daughter, Heather brought this amazing charcuterie board. 

Note the stuffed 'carrots'. Actually, they are little peppers with parsley 'stems'. 

Another view of the goodies. 
We could have feasted on this alone! 

Daughter Jennie brought a fruit tray with a yummy dip. 

Daughter-in-laws, Erica and Jen brought croissants and muffins. 

Of course, I forgot to take photos of the four quiches I made, 
and the strawberry/spinach salad.

We also had mango/cranberry mimosas.  

We had a lovely meal.
So grateful for the blessings. 

Afterwards, the relentless rain let up long enough 
to have an Easter egg hunt for the grand-boys. 
Look at their haul!
My goodness. Daughter Heather arranged this event. 
She's just as fun and imaginative as her three boys. 

We all had a lot of fun! 

I received some lovely flowers, too. 

I gifted everyone with sweet pansies 
in chalk-painted clay pots. 

I had two left over, but I gave one 
to a dear friend the next day. 

We also celebrated a belated birthday for Ramblin' Man
with his favorite dessert - Boston cream pie cupcakes. 
I baked two dozen and these four were all that was left! 

I made the sweet garland a few years ago from folded 
doilies backed by colored cupcake liners (pink and blue)
 and strung on baker's twine. 
The flowers are silk. 

The vintage handkerchief with crochet edge matches perfectly.  


The house was full of love and laughter and the pitter-patter 
of little feet. 
The house is quiet now and we are very tired, 
but the memories are sweet. 

Now that we are done with all the Easter preparations, 
we are back to our never-ending 'to do list'. 

I bought this shelf quite a while ago at a flea-market
and I've been waiting patiently for Ramblin' Man 
to find the time to hang it for me over the claw-foot tub. 

It has a hook in the middle and two outdoor faucet knobs to hang things on. 
It's hard to see because of the light from the window, 
but it is a lovely blue/gray with a weathered finish. 

Now I have to make some herbal bath sachets to hang here! 

We found the bathtub at an estate sale in Tacoma, WA 
when we were building the house. 

Still not done...
A home is a living thing - constantly evolving. 
I've always had the desire to make 
'home' a place of peace and refuge
and fill it with things that I love. 

Before we landed here, we spent the first 10 years of our 
marriage moving from place to place in our
quest to find 'home'. 
No matter where we lived, I always tried to make it 
as pretty and comfortable as I could, despite 
our lack of funds, so I learned to sew curtains 
and pillows and paint and tile. 
We had a lot of fun 'fixing up' many of our 
rental homes, much to the delight of our landlords. 
Once we found 'home', we never left. 


I moved my son's painting to the mantel as a backdrop 
to my little herd of sheep. 

A fallen nest that I gathered after a wind storm. 

I fashioned a wall gallery of the grandchildren 
from painted frames. 

I couldn't find the exact shade of green that I wanted, 
so I bought unfinished frames from the craft store 
and painted them myself. 

I gave them a weathered driftwood look by using a light touch.
I painted the center panel white before using the green. 

It's the same paint I used on the wood box below. 

I don't have a lot of wall-space available, so I try to 
keep things cohesive. 

My home is actually quite small. 
It looks large from the outside, 
but it is only one room deep with the 2nd story
 only half of that because the roof slopes down to one story in the back.
'Salt Box' style.  
You can see the slope in the 1st photo above. 
This gives us open ceilings with skylights on one side, 
with all of the 'walls' on that side consisting of glass
doors which open onto the deck. 

You can read the story of our journey and
 see the construction of the house Here.

I've added a couple of pages to my nature journal. 

The periwinkle is blooming - its starry little blooms scattered all over the ground - the color 
of the sky. I had to use colored pencils to do them justice, although the green 
is not as deep as I would like. 

We have a pair of friendly little house wrens that flit 
here and there searching for bugs.
They are so tiny and sweet with tails 
that stick straight up and flick backwards 
every time they move. 

Don't you just love pansies?

Even the moss is sprouting flowers this time of year. 

The daffodils are a happy surprise. 
They were a mixed grab bag that I planted last fall.

This little one was giving me the eye through the living room window. 
My Easter cactus is blooming inside. 

The camellia is blooming along the walkway. 

We've had continued cool and unsettled weather, but 
when the sun comes out the birds start singing and I 
rush out to work in the garden. 
I finally managed to dead-head the hydrangeas 
and trim up the roses and I even start on the never-ending 
eradication of the blackberry vines that take hold whenever 
I'm not looking. 
I come in after a few hours, scratched up, with my hair 
looking like I was caught in a wind tunnel, 
but with a self-satisfied smile on my face. 

A salad I made for dinner one night with leftover Easter eggs. 

Some pretty scenes on my way to and from the grocery store. 


Thank you for visiting my sweet friends. 
I hope that you find something to smile about, 
something pleasant to do, 
somewhere beautiful to visit, 
and a dear friend or two to share it with. 


"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made 
and forgot to put a soul into."

- Henry Ward Beecher -


"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak
to the listening heaven."

- Rabindranath Tagore - 

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